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Title: Phoretic mite infestations associated with Rhynchophorus palmarum (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in southern California
The South American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), established in San Diego County, California, USA sometime around 2014. Attached to the motile adults of this destructive palm pest, we identified three species of uropodine mites (Parasitiformes: Uropodina), Centrouropoda n. sp., Dinychus n. sp. and Fuscuropoda marginata. Two of these species, Centrouropoda n. sp. and Dinychus n. sp. are recorded for the first time in the USA and were likely introduced by R. palmarum. Several species of mites, primarily of Uropodina, have previously been recorded as phoretic on Rhynchophorus spp. In this study, we examined 3,035 adult R. palmarum trapped over a 2.5-year period, July 2016 to December 2018, and documented the presence of and species composition of phoretic mites and their relationship with weevil morphometrics (i.e., pronotum length and width). The presence and species composition of mites on weevil body parts changed over the survey period. No mites were found under weevil elytra in 2016 and mite prevalence under elytra increased over 2017–2018 due to an increased abundance of Centrouropoda n. sp per individual beetle. Mite occurrence levels were significantly correlated with reduced pronotum widths of male weevils only. The significance of this finding on male weevil fitness is unknown. Potential implications of phoretic mites on aspects of the invasion biology of R. palmarum are discussed.  more » « less
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Systematic and Applied Acarology
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National Science Foundation
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